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Region 1: EPA New England

EPA New England Regional Policy on Environmental Justice

Introduction: EPA New England (EPA NE) is committed to promoting and supporting Environmental Justice (EJ). EJ is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including any racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.

EPA NE personnel shall consider questions of EJ in all Regional activities including employment, education and outreach, regulatory activities, data management, enforcement, contracts and grants, communication, and planning. In addition, within the EPA NE work planning processes, management will systematically evaluate ongoing efforts to ensure an appropriate, continuing focus on EJ and will implement procedures to address EJ issues.

Employment: EPA NE policy is to recruit, hire, promote, train, and transfer individuals of diverse backgrounds within all levels of EPA so that the composition of EPA NE reflects the diversity of the people it serves. Such a policy facilitates decision-making that reflects a broad range of experience and understanding, and takes into account diverse views and perspectives.

Education and Outreach: EPA NE policy is to foster a heightened awareness of EJ issues, both within EPA and among those most threatened by environmental risks. The Region will develop and implement EJ training, promote increased communication of EJ issues in a manner that has a measurable impact on affected communities, and provide general environmental education to targeted populations. EJ training will be mandatory for all EPA NE staff and will be part of the core curriculum for new employees joining the Region.

Regulatory Activities: EPA NE policy is to maximize the use of EPA's statutory authority and practical influence to protect public health and the environment in a manner that openly addresses EJ. Regional program managers and staff will incorporate EJ into all aspects of their work with local, state, and federal agencies, will encourage interagency cooperation with respect to EJ issues, and will provide opportunities for meaningful participation in our environmental decision-making and program implementation to all external stakeholders down to the local government and neighborhood levels.

Data Management: EPA NE will ensure that its program managers and staff have access to the information and analytical support necessary to successfully identify, evaluate, and resolve EJ issues in the Region. Our goal is to provide access to, and ensure use of, relevant information to assess and address EJ.

Enforcement: EJ principles will be among the factors considered by regional enforcement personnel in establishing enforcement priorities and targeting enforcement actions. Regional personnel will encourage the regulated community to address EJ in the settlement of enforcement cases, including the use of Supplement Environmental Projects.

Contracts and Grants: EPA NE will routinely promote and support EJ through Regional contracts and grants. Routine consideration of EJ through contracting and grant policies and procedures will significantly increase our opportunities to promote EJ outreach to contract and grant recipients.

Communication: EPA NE will improve and expand its communication effort by endeavoring to keep citizens and stakeholders, especially those in minority and low-income communities, abreast of emerging Regional and Headquarters policy. The Region recognizes the sensitivity and concern that issues such as risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication present to racial minorities and low-income communities. Towards this end, EPA NE will reach out to external constituencies, especially those in minority and low-income communities, by enhancing outreach and communication activities through the use of the internet and other more traditional communication tools.

Planning: Implementation of this Environmental Justice Policy will be incorporated into the Regional Strategic Planning framework and progress will be monitored through the midyear and annual assessment process.

Review Mechanism: The Regional Administrator shall ensure that EJ issues and goals are being met through a regular review process that includes evaluation of Regional strategic planning, individual office work planning, and any other activities deemed necessary by the Regional Administrator. The Office of Civil Rights and Urban Affairs shall act as the Regional Administrator's representative in ensuring that EJ issues and goals are addressed in a timely and effective manner.

This Policy supercedes the January 16, 2001 Environmental Justice Policy and the January 12, 1993 Environmental Equity Policy, and is effective immediately.

October 1, 2001 Robert W. Varney
Former Regional Administrator

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